Friday, April 24

Review: Airframe Detail No.2: The Dornier Do 17Z from Valiant Wings Publishing.

The latest Airframe Detail is about to land – the flying pencil was indeed mightier than the sword and it is this aircraft – the Do-17Z that features in volume two of this popular series. Let’s see what Valiant Wings has in store with their latest all in one title in our review...

Review: Airframe Detail No.2: The Dornier Do 17Z
– A Technical Guide

by Valiant Wings Publishing
By Richard A. Franks
Softcover in A4 Portrait format
82 pages
ISBN 978-0-9575866-9-7
Available from Valiant Wings directly & their suppliers

The sixth title in the Airframe Detail series covers a very important Luftwaffe type of growing interest to scale model enthusiasts in the recent Battle of Britain memorials. The Dornier Do-17Z or the “Flying Pencil” as it became known, was an integral type in the Luftwaffe’s bombing force in the early years of World War II. Valiant Wing’s new tittle in the Airframe Detail series captures the “gen” you need to know if you are modelling , researching or just interested in this aircraft all in one book – or that’s what this book aims to do. Let’s see how it fares after we read it...

Richard A. Franks’ last book Airframe Detail No.1: The Blohm & Voss Bv 141. This kite was the subject of the recent release of the new tool Hobbyboss 1/48 scale kit and not to mention the old Airfix 1/72 scale kit. I have even heard of rumours of a larger scale aircraft in this type. SO I suppose this selection is timely. Valiant wings do have a knack of picking the right time to release their books on certain subjects so I will be watching the market keenly. 
This book is similar to the other Valiant Wings tittles in look and feel. It is a glossy softcover in portrait format in A4 size. Weighing in at 82 pages there is a lot of info in here for an aircraft that only really saw service for half the war. The bonus being that it has not often been covered in such detail before. The other thing I notice once reading the book is that none of the “all in one” approach to completely covering an aircraft tin one tittle is lost here. 
The books starts of course with a preface and a brief history of the type. Starting with the even more ungainly looking prototype versions that looked every bit the 30’s style of oddity aircraft. These first prototype “V” series of aircraft housed all sort of different glasshouse arrangements and different engines before we get to see the round, radial engined and Plexiglas caged windows and this fuselage we have come to associate the Do-17Z with. 
We look at most of the airframe types through to the production type which it’s thought about twenty were produced. We look at the Dornier though its service in Spain, Finland and the Battle of Britain and the Balkans before it’s swansong in 1942 where it was largely put out of active service by advancements of enemy fighters and indeed the superiority of it’s own Luftwaffe new cousins. Some great pictures in here of aircraft I haven’t ever seen before and some interesting colours and even a ramjet testbed Dornier Do 17Z.

Next is a very in depth look over all of the major parts of the Do-17Z in the large section called “Technical Description”. Using a wealth of period diagrams from original flight manuals, pictures of aircraft lose up at the time and other resources we look from the cockpit to the tail of the Dornier and all of the parts in between.
Where they can and at nearly all of the illustrations and pictures is a helpful caption to explain what is being shown off. Usually a picture accompanies a diagram to establish a little more of what the author is talking about. The engines, cockpit layout, structural and flight surfaces, weapons, ordinance and recon and other parts are examined and explained in some good detail that helps you understand much better that makes the Do-17Z tick. 
Section two sees us already at page 60 of 82 with the camouflage & markings of the aircraft. After the disclaimer that I always enjoy reading in these books we get into the interpretation and documental evidence of what colours and patterns of colours these Dorniers wore, also what markings and the size and positions of each of them are described as well.
Colour interpretation from photographs is well done and the pink patches on some early BOB Dorniers are a nice discovery and bits like this throughout are a good additions, as is the next part in living colour...
Six pages of full colour profiles drawn up by the very experienced and talented Richard J Caruana fill out the next section. The colours in here are varied and interesting and they leave you very inspired at the thought of a Do-17Z in your future.  German, Finnish and Croatian variants of all seasons and colours are included in this set as well as an underside and upper services pattern and markings guide.
A regular section is included next. Libor Jekl, a talented modeller takes us through his build of the Airfix Do17Z in 1/72nd scale. Libor takes us through all of the main parts and possible hiccups of this kit and his photography and text are quite informative. This will help any modeller who cares to read and understand other people’s good work.
We next look at all of the other kits of the Do-17Z – this time the unbuilt ones. We look at every scale and every kit that has been released of this aircraft (in 72nd and 48th scales) and the next page includes all of the aftermarket and decals you can buy with this kit. 
The book bibliography focused on this aircraft is last with an extensive list that is handy to have and great for the completist’s.

That is the makeup of this book. A smaller version of their books but the lesser known and shorter service life aircraft are still a great fit in this series. We look at ALL of this aircraft from start to finish, inside and out. We also look at colours and modelling so it’s great for modellers and collectors with the lists in the rear.

Another great book in this series and on the Dornier Do-17Z

Adam Norenberg

You can get this kit directly from the Valiant Wings website, or from their distributors on their website. Thinks to the guys at VWP for sending this book to read and review.